Vegalta Sendai Ladies 3 - 4 INAC Kobe Leonessa
A thrilling game in Sendai saw Kobe extend their lead at the top of the table with Sendai now almost certain to finish third. The home side took the lead in the twenty-first minute after sustained pressure with Arimachi Saori rifling home from inside the box. Kobe took little time to equalise, Masuya Rika left all alone to head home a free kick.
Three minutes later Jang Selgi, making an impressive first start, took the ball clear of two Sendai players who slipped and her ball across the box was put away by Ohno Shinobu. Sendai fought back and with three minutes to go to half-time levelled things up again, Kawamura Yuri taking the ball forward purposefully, giving the ball out to Hamada and then finishing off herself emphatically. Sendai switched off, however, allowing Ohno to take the ball forward through midfield unhindered and her long range shot was unstoppable.
Eleven minutes into the second half Nakajima Emi played a one-two with Jang and scored a fine goal into the top corner of the net from a tight angle, Jang's third assist of the day proving decisive. Sendai set up a tremendous finish when they pulled a goal back, substitute Ono Hitomi scoring with twenty minutes remaining. Despite their best efforts and following numerous clear chances, the home side were unable to find a way through the packed Kobe defence.
Kobe next play JEF United and then Urawa and will believe they have enough to finish top. Sendai visit Okayama and then host JEF United. The two sides will renew their acquaintances in the Exciting Series.
Vegalta Sendai Ladies:
Takenaka Rei, Sakai Yuki, Yamamoto Risa, Takahashi Nana, Takara Ryoko, Kakazu Asuka (capt), Sasaki Mayu, Kawamura Yuri, Nakano Manami, Hamada Haruka, Arimachi Saori
Subs: Inoue Ayaka (Arimachi Saori, HT), Ono Hitomi (Hamada Haruka, 59 mins), Sasaki Miwa (Nakano Manami, 87 mins)
Unused subs: Saito Ayaka, Nishikawa Asuka, Tahara Nozomi, Yasumoto Sawako
Scorers: Arimachi Saori (21 mins), Kawamura Yuri (42 mins), Ono Hitomi (70 mins)
Booked: Takahashi Nana
INAC Kobe Leonessa:
Kaihori Ayumi, Nakajima Emi, Kai Junko, Tanaka Asuna, Sameshima Aya, Ito Kanako, Ito Miki, Sawa Homare, Masuya Rika, Ohno Shinobu (capt), Jang Selgi
Subs: Kawasumi Nahomi (Masuya Rika, HT), Takase Megumi (Jang Selgi, 71 mins), Kinga Yukari (Sameshima Aya, 87 mins)
Unused subs: Shibusawa Anna, Miyake Shiori, Minamiyama Chiaki
Scorers: Masuya Rika (24 mins), Ohno Shinobu (27, 45 mins), Nakajima Emi (56 mins)
Booked: Kai Junko
Albirex Niigata Ladies 2 - 2 Speranza FC Osaka Takatsuki
A Yamazaki Marumi brace - sandwiched between goals from Narumiya Yui and Sato Kaede - means that both sides take a point which is not particularly satisfactory to either side. Niigata stay in the top six but will have to work hard to stay ahead of Belle who are two points behind. Takatsuki are confirmed as being a bottom four finisher and as things stand would begin the Exciting Series one point ahead of Saitama at the bottom. Takatsuki next play Urawa with Niigata hosting Saitama.
Albirex Niigata Ladies:
Koganemaru Sachie, Kojima Miku, Kitahara Kana, Sayama Momoko, Watanabe Ayaka, Saito Yuri, Yamada Shoko, Yamazaki Marumi (capt), Kamionobe Megumi, Saeki Aya, Oishi Sayaka
Subs: Sakaguchi Moeno (Oishi Sayaka, 79 mins), Yasaka Mei (Saeki Aya, 79 mins), Kubota Mayu (Yamazaki Marumi, 83 mins)
Unused subs: Fukumura Kanae, Nakamura Kaede, Yamamoto Arina, Takahashi Haruka
Scorers: Yamazaki Marumi (24, 34 mins)
Speranza FC Osaka Takatsuki:
Ono Maya, Tsuboi Ayako, Sato Kaede, Takeda Arisa, Akiba Yumeko, Takahashi Saki, Narumiya Yui, Torao Naomi (capt), Hazuki Yuki, Honda Saki, Maruyama Karina
Subs: Saito Toshiko (Honda Saki, 37 mins), Sakumoto Fumika (Takahashi Saki, 62 mins), Enya Mari (Maruyama Karina, 84 mins)
Unused subs: Ueno Yukiko, Hayashi Momo
Scorers: Narumiya Yui (19 mins), Sato Kaede (51 mins)
Okayama Yunogo Belle 1 - 0 Iga FC Kunoichi
Iga dominated this game from start to finish but it was Belle who took all three points courtesy of a Miyama Aya free kick midway through the first half, her fourth goal of the season. Belle still look the most likely of the mid-table sides to finish in the bottom four due to their poor goal difference and for Iga the game is all but up, and they will again fight against relegation. They play Beleza on Wednesday, Belle host Vegalta Sendai a day earlier.
Okayama Yunogo Belle:
Fukumoto Miho (capt), Nakajima Chihiro, Kado Yuka, Takahashi Sachie, Mizushima Kumi, Asano Miki, Okubo Mai, Miyama Aya, Kobayashi Makiko, Takahashi Chiho, Matsuoka Miki
Subs: Kuzuma Riyo (Okubo Mai, 67 mins), Kishino Sana (Asano Miki, 79 mins), Hosokawa Motoyo (Kobayashi Makiko, 90 mins)
Unused subs: Mita Isayo, Taniguchi Kikumi, Kawano Saki, Tanaka Mayu
Scorers: Miyama Aya (22 mins)
Iga FC Kunoichi:
Isashi Kaede, Michikura Hiroko, Miyasako Tamami, Nasu Maiko (capt), Hatanaka Miyuka, Suzuki Kaoruko, Haji Madoka, Sugita Ami, Matsunaga Yoshie, Sonomura Nana, Gloria Douglas
Subs: Noichi Aya (Matsunaga Yoshie, HT)
Unused subs: Sawada Norimi, Matsunaga Tomoe, Molly Menchel, Kiyohara Marie
Booked: Hatanaka Miyuka
AS Elfen Saitama 0 - 3 JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies
A Sugasawa double followed by a third goal in three games for Kawamura Mari means that JEF United will finish no lower than fourth in the Regular Series this year, while Saitama need to win both of their last two games against Niigata and Belle to avoid finishing bottom. Their first of those two games comes on Tuesday, when JEF United host Kobe.
AS Elfen Saitama:
Sakuragi Ayana, Segi Aiki, Matsuoka Sayuri, Nara Misaki, Matsukubo Akari, Sugihara Haruna, Takano Saki, Otani Erina, Kitano Rie, Azami Rie (capt), Takahashi Saori
Subs: Nakano Rino (Kitano Rie, HT), Orita Aya (Takahashi Saori, 61 mins), Shimokawa Saori (Takano Saki, 78 mins)
Unused subs: Akitaya Misato, Sakurabayashi Ayako, Hagiwara Aimi, Takahashi Kaho
JEF United Ichihara Chiba Ladies:
Yamane Erina, Chino Shoko, Sakuramoto Naoko (capt), Isokane Midori, Ueno Saki, Hosaka Nodoka, Setoguchi Kozue, Kawamura Mari, Fukasawa Risa, Ikadai Risa, Sugasawa Yuika
Subs: Kamogawa Miho (Ikadai Risa, 44 mins), Anzai Yuka (Hosaka Nodoka, 71 mins), Mitsuhashi Asuka (Sugasawa Yuika, 76 mins)
Unused subs: Kitsuki Yui, Wakabayashi Minori, Nishikawa Ayaka, Yanai Rina
Scorers: Sugasawa Yuika (12, 44 mins), Kawamura Mari (69 mins)
Nippon TV Beleza 0 - 0 Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies
A scoreless draw between these local rivals does more good to Urawa than it does to Beleza, who now must rely on INAC Kobe losing at least once and their winning both of their final games to finish top at the end of the Regular Series. Urawa are fifth, three points above the Lower Section and one win against either Takatsuki or Kobe will be enough for them. Beleza play Iga on Wednesday, a day later than all other sides.
Nippon TV Beleza:
Yamashita Ayaka, Shimizu Risa, Iwashimizu Azusa (capt), Muramatsu Tomoko, Ariyoshi Saori, Hara Natsuko, Sakaguchi Mizuho, Momiki Yuka, Nakasato Yu, Uetsuji Yumi, Tanaka Mina
Subs: Sumida Rin (Momiki Yuka, 81 mins), Kiryu Nanase (Nakasato Yu, 85 mins)
Unused subs: Soyama Kanako, Doko Mayo, Hasegawa Yui, Shimada Chiaki, Arakawa Eriko
Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies:
Ikeda Sakiko, Norimatsu Ruka, Osafune Kana, Kohata Shiho, Usui Rie, Shibata Hanae, Naomoto Hikaru, Kishikawa Natsuki, Kato Chika, Seike Kiko, Goto Michi (capt)
Subs: Kira Chinatsu (Goto Michi, 77 mins), Nagano Fuka (Kato Chika, 83 mins), Shiraki Akari (Seike Kiko, 90 mins)
Unused subs: Hirao Chika, Ishii Saki, Wada Naoko, Kurishima Akari